Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Looking at Art's Influence on Motion Picture Design: Part Two Andrew Wyeth

Sometimes the influence of an artist's work on a motion picture's design is subtle. For an example that isn’t subtle see The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. From the Wikipedia article about the movie, "Cinematographer Roger Deakins used palettes of brown and black to produce a bleak yet oneiric quality to the film, reminiscent of the paintings of Andrew Wyeth." The Wyeth influence was throughout; in the timing - in the way one's eye is lead through the compostion, as well as in the palette. More about this can be found in the Jesse James Meets Andrew Wyeth post by Eric Braddock. The visual comparisons in this post are excellent examples of Wyeth's influence.

The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Trailer

Another film influenced by Wyeth's artwork includes the American remake of The Ring (2002). Production designer Tom Duffield states that he relied on Andrew Wyeth paintings as his main visual inspiration for the film. I found Duffield quoted on The Ring World Forum production notes, "In Wyeth's work, the trees are always dormant, and the colors are muted earth tones. It's greys, it's browns, it's somber colors; it's ripped fabrics in the windows. His work has a haunting flavor that I felt would add to the mystique of this movie, so I latched on to it."

The Ring 2002 Trailer

Andrew Wyeth lived and worked in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, where M. Night Shyamalan filmed The Village. Shyamalan wanted the sense of loneliness and isolation that he felt from Wyeth's paintings for his film. According to this Rachel Abramowitz article from the Los Angeles Times, he was looking for "The perfect field, surrounded by dense woods, that he'd seen in his head".

The Village Trailer


All images on this site are copyright (c) Suzanne McLean. said...

How wonderfully interesting, Katherine. My husband received the Jesse James film as a gift and I had no interest in it. But once I saw the endless scenes of trees and mist I couldn't tear myself away.

Kathryn Hansen said...

these posts are so interesting...film makers inspired by artists. it really makes you look at those artist a bit differently!

Katherine Kean said...

Hi Suzanne,

I had a similar experience watching Jesse James. As the movie rolled on I became immersed in the images.

Hi Kathryn,

It is interesting isn't it? To see how one artist influences another.

Casey Klahn said...

I see few films, so when we saw Village, I instantly thought about your series on art and film. The Wyeth was all over it. I looked for some reference in the special features, but nothing was said.

Very cool series by yourself.

Katherine Kean said...

Thanks Casey. Chadds Ford, where the Village was filmed, seems to be Wyeth territory!

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